Cabbies call for rank permits

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Two local taxi firms are urging City Hall to introduce cab permits in Queenstown – citing congestion woes in the CBD.

Queenstown Taxis and Green Cabs reckon newbies are flooding the resort and clogging up taxi ranks.

They’ve counted 22 new vehicles in the last two months.

Green Cabs boss Martin Amott says a recent change to legislation has resulted in the influx.

“The centre of Queenstown is only so big. We are not like Auckland or Wellington where it is spread out over a large area.”

Queenstown Taxis boss Grant Scannell says queues of cabs aren’t a good look – particularly with council’s mandate of trying to get cars off the road.

He’s also heard whispers of inappropriate behaviour, smoking in vehicles and dodgy, high fares.

The pair say it isn’t a case of sour grapes or trying to monopolise the market.

They point out existing drivers operate a rolling-stand system and claim newbies are not using the ranks correctly.

Christchurch-based Gold Band Taxis is one new operator with four cars on the road.

Head honcho Graham Moore says his guys are following the rule book.

He isn’t aware of a possible permit and can’t comment on the issue.

But under the new rules, which include that anyone with a P-endorsement and passenger licence can take punters, the number of taxis could rise.

Amott: “Now operators are turning up in town and doing what they want.

“There is no one Grant and I can speak to to get them operating the way we have been [gentlemen’s agreement] which is causing congestion and which is potentially going to slow down the bus service.”

City Hall comms man Jimmy Sygrove says it’s been contacted about possible permits – but can’t confirm if it has received any complaints from the public.

“We are not actively looking to put one in place at this stage, but we are looking at what options council has in this space and whether something like a permit scheme is needed down the line.”

An unattributed written statement from NZ Transport Agency, which has to carry out compliance checks, says it conducted one on November 29.

“Police and NZTA observed high levels of compliance with the new legislation and no significant issues were detected.”

louise.scott@scene.co.nz